Critical Race Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Building Islam as a race in French colonial law

The conquest of Algeria introduced in French law new chapters pertaining to the treatment of indigenous people. In fact, the French Algeria gained the status of department in 1848 and then, was incorporated into the territory of France with, normally, the application of the Code Civil, the civil law. However, the colonial authorities developed in parallel a set of laws with the intention to exclude native Algerians from nationality and …

READ MORE →

Critical Race Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Sind Juden weiß?

Wie Antidiskriminierungsrecht am Antisemitismus scheitert

Das umstrittene Urteil des Landgerichts Frankfurt zum Flugverbot für israelische Staatsbürger bei Kuwait Airways ist auch in antidiskriminierungsrechtlicher Hinsicht interessant. Es zeigt, wie schwer es Gerichten fällt Antisemitismus unter die Kategorien des Antidiskriminierungsrechts zu subsumieren und ihn in seinen aktuellen Ausformungen zu erfassen. Nicht nur in Deutschland.

READ MORE →

Critical Race Perspectives on International LawSymposium

The Concept of Race in International Criminal Law

The Nazis defined the Jews as a race inferior to the Aryan race, the Khmer Rouge identified the ‘new people’ as enemies with a biologically dissimilar essence, and in Darfur (Sudan), the Janjaweed militia labelled their enemies derogatorily as ‘Zourga’, or black Africans. Seemingly, these victim classifications all have a racial denominator in common. Yet, how does international criminal law in general and the law of genocide in particular define …

READ MORE →

Critical Race Perspectives on International LawSymposium

We need to talk about ‘race’

Symposium: Critical Race Perspectives on International Law

“Race is the child of racism, not the father,” writes Ta-Nehisi Coates in “Between the World and Me”. Such understanding of race, not as an empirical category but as a category for analysing power relations and structural discrimination, underlies the symposium “Critical Race Perspectives on International Law”.  We take inspiration from the important work of critical race theorists who posit that racism is not simply a matter of individual prejudice …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

Opt-in vs. Opt-out = opt-in-opt-out?

On the activation of the ICC’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression

In December 2017, the States Parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC) had the chance to realize in New York what Robert H. Jackson called for in his opening statement before the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg. While international criminal law was only applied against German aggressors at that time, the U.S. Chief Prosecutor emphasized that the condemnation of aggressive war should be the benchmark for any other nation in …

READ MORE →

DiscussionKick-off

One law to rule them all

On the extraterritorial applicability of the new EU General Data Protection Regulation

Setting the gold standard … In May 2016, the EU adopted its long-awaited new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and thereby opened a new chapter in the history of European and global data protection law. Meeting the challenges of the 21st century globally linked information-society, it took the EU-institutions more than four years and almost 4,000 amendments to finally agree on a compromise text. While elaborating the GDPR, the EU tried …

READ MORE →

Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Cleavages in international law and the danger of a pull towards non-compliance

International law faces difficult times, with cleavages running deep between what is often labelled “the West” on the one hand, and Russia on the other hand. With the annexation of Crimea Russia has engaged in a form of conflict that was considered passé in Europe. It is accordingly seen as being responsible for the polarization of international relations by many Western States. Moscow tells a different story of the deterioration …

READ MORE →

Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Who Holds Russia’s Judges and Public Prosecutors to Account?

How the International Community Fails to Effectively Address Judicial Harassment of Human Rights Defenders in the Russian Federation

This piece is about the growing number of politically-motivated charges and convictions against human rights defenders in Russia and the absence of credible monitoring or audit procedures to hold judges and public prosecutors to account for their misconduct. Despite political backlashes to judicial independence in countries such as Hungary and Poland, Europe is generally perceived as a powerhouse for a strong and working justice system in which courts protect human …

READ MORE →

Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Is Russia the Guardian of Humanitarian Intervention?

In the UN Security Council, the Russian Federation has repeatedly put forward in no uncertain terms its stance regarding humanitarian intervention and its concern that this fairly recent concept may be misused to press Western influence and regime change. Thus, Russia used its veto powers four times to block resolutions on Syria that Russia perceives to be damaging its ally, the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. Russia’s argument on fearing regime change rests …

READ MORE →

Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

The EU-Russia Civil Society Forum

Fostering the Voice of Civil Society in the International Legal Debate

When speaking of the role of Russia in the contemporary international legal debate, it is helpful not only to focus on particular topics and questions, but – as with all other debates – to start with the question, at what levels and in which formats such a legal debate takes place; which actors are actively engaged in it or can actively participate in it, and what impact it has. To …

READ MORE →

Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Das EU-Russland Zivilgesellschaftsforum

Die Stimme der Zivilgesellschaft in der internationalen Rechtsdebatte stärken

Spricht man über die Rolle Russlands in der zeitgenössischen internationalen Rechtsdebatte, so ist es hilfreich, sich nicht nur auf die konkreten Themen und Fragen zu fokussieren, sondern – wie bei allen anderen Debatten auch – sich zunächst zu fragen, auf welchen Ebenen und in welchen Formaten diese Rechtsdebatte stattfindet, welche Akteure daran aktiv teilnehmen bzw. teilnehmen können, und mit welcher Auswirkung. Die Kommunikationswissenschaftler verwenden dafür die Lasswell-Formel: “Who says what …

READ MORE →

Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Russia, international law, and the melting of the Arctic

The melting ice in the polar caps is one of humanity’s contemporary ecological anxieties. Climate change scientists have suggested that there is a high likelihood that the Arctic sea ice cover will get thinner and continue to shrink. Likewise, the Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover is expected to decrease during the 21st century as global mean surface temperature rises. Are the current international legal mechanisms sufficiently equipped to respond to …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

Cheating Chile

The (il)legality of information and the World Bank’s “Doing Business” ranking

A rare mea culpa emanated from the leading international development institution, the World Bank, last week. The Bank’s Chief Economist, Paul Romer, told the Wall Street Journal: “I want to make a personal apology to Chile, and to any other country where we conveyed the wrong impression.” Romer, who took his post in late 2016, said he had found “irregularities” in the World Bank’s flagship publication, the “Doing Business” ranking. …

READ MORE →

Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

‘Peaceful’ and ‘Remedial’ Annexations of Crimea

This post analyzes the ‘two annexations’ of Crimea in the Russian narrative of ‘reclaiming its historical rights’ over the peninsula in 2014. As many aspects surrounding the occupation of Crimea have been extensively debated in scholarly writings, I will limit my focus on two key concepts that Russia has advanced: Ukraine’s ‘peaceful annexation’ of Crimea in 1991; and Russia’s ‘remedial annexation’ of Crimea in 2014. My main aim is to …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

Das Dilemma der Intra-EU Investor-Staat Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit

Der EuGH könnte im Fall Achmea bald die Unvereinbarkeit von intra-EU Investor-Staat Schiedsgerichten mit europäischem Recht erklären – mit weitreichenden rechtlichen Konsequenzen

Über den Achmea-Fall (Rechtssache C-284/16), seine Hintergründe und die mündliche Verhandlung wurde auf diesem Blog bereits an anderer Stelle berichtet. Die dem Fall zugrundeliegende rechtliche Problematik beruht auf den bilateralen völkerrechtlichen Investitionsschutz-Verträgen zwischen EU Mitgliedstaaten (intra-EU BITs), die materielle Schutzstandards für Investoren beinhalten und in den meisten Fällen zur Streitbeilegung die Möglichkeit der Anrufung eines internationalen Schiedsgerichts vorsehen. Hundertfünfundneunzig intra-EU BITs sind noch in Kraft und fast alle von ihnen …

READ MORE →

Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Ukraine v. Russia: Passage through Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov

Part III: The Jurisdiction of the Arbitral Tribunal

In our first and second post, we have considered the status of the Sea of Azov and Kerch Strait and, on that basis, identified passage rights of Ukraine that could potentially feature in the proceedings before the arbitral tribunal established under Annex VII of UNCLOS. In our present and last post, we inquire if (or to what extent) these potential Ukrainian claims could fall within the jurisdiction of the arbitral …

READ MORE →

Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Ukraine v. Russia: Passage through Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov

Part II: Ukraine’s Rights of Passage through Kerch Strait

In our previous post, we have taken a look at the legal status of the Sea of Azov and concluded that there are two possible Scenarios involving either a shared bay regime of internal waters or a “standard” situation in which the Sea of Azov is divided into the territorial seas of Russia and Ukraine in addition to a high seas pocket in the centre (see Picture 3). Based on …

READ MORE →

Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Ukraine v. Russia: Passage through Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov

Part I: The Legal Status of Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov

On 16 September 2016, Ukraine instituted arbitral proceedings against Russia under Part XV and Annex VII of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in the Dispute Concerning Coastal State Rights in the Black Sea, Sea of Azov, and Kerch Strait (Ukraine v. the Russian Federation). The case relates to Russia’s occupation of Crimea in 2014, which fundamentally disrupted the maritime order in the Black …

READ MORE →

Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Les évolutions de la primauté de la souveraineté dans l’approche russe du droit international

« Du passé faisons table rase » : à l’heure de fêter le centième anniversaire de la Révolution d’Octobre, ces paroles de l’Internationale ont résonné dans beaucoup de têtes. Ainsi en est-il de la Russie, qui connut plusieurs revirements spectaculaires en moins d’un siècle. Toutefois, un fil rouge se dégage dans la pensée internationaliste russe. En effet, s’il est connu que la souveraineté est au cœur de l’approche russe actuelle en droit international, …

READ MORE →

Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

A Nationalized Approach to International Law: the Case of Russia

When a new edition of one of the most authoritative Soviet international law textbooks co-authored by professor Tunkin was published in 1999, most of its chapters repeated the previous 1981 version of the same textbook word-for-word, with references to “bourgeois” science of international law in the 1981 edition simply replaced by global change to “Western” science of international law in the 1999 edition. This is probably the best illustration of …

READ MORE →

Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Strasbourg’s Effect on Russia – and Russia’s Effect on Strasbourg

It has been occasionally asked, in the light of case law that comes out from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), whether Russia actually complies with the ECtHR’s judgments. In terms of the big picture, even more important is the question whether the country has made any systemic progress in terms of human rights protection while being part of the Strasbourg system. How could the paradox be explained that …

READ MORE →

Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Symposium: “Russian Perspectives on International Law”

We are excited to launch the Symposium “Russian Perspectives on International Law”. It has been in planning for a while, and we were enthusiastic about the response to our call for contributions. The symposium is motivated by an interest in the manifold ways in which the Russian case vis-à-vis international law is special. Politically: Russia, belonging to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plays an important role …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

Nature as a bearer of rights – a legal construction in pursuit for better environmental protection?

The World Climate Conference (COP 23), held in Bonn, Germany, has ended on November 17th and some of its key outcomes seem to be auspicious (e.g. the coal phase-out promoted by some states). Yet, one of the most dividing points in international environmental law has remained untouched: whether – when considering environmental rights and obligations – nature should be the carrier of rights and thus be protected for the sake …

READ MORE →

DiscussionKick-off

Self-Defence Against the PKK?

The Turkish Approach to International Law

The conflict between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as a Kurdish insurgent movement is a four-decade-long (from the 1980s) guerrilla war in the southeast region of the country. Turkish President R.T. Erdogan, in a reaction to an attack in the centre of Ankara which killed at least 28 people and left another 61 injured on 17 February 2016, stated that “Our State will never give up its right …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

Zu ihrem Glück vereint

Die wechselvollen Beziehungen der Europäischen Union mit der Schweiz

Das öffentliche Interesse an dem Besuch von EU-Kommissionspräsident Jean-Claude Junker am 22. November in Bern war groß. Im Vorfeld des – schon von langer Hand geplanten – Treffens mit dem Schweizer Bundesrat brannten erneute Diskussionen darüber auf wie die Beziehungen der Schweiz mit der Europäischen Union (EU) zukünftig aussehen könnten. Grund genug, sich den gegenwärtigen Stand der Beziehungen zwischen der Schweiz und der EU noch einmal vor Augen zu führen. …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

The winds in New York have not changed after the recent ICJ elections

Inflamed passions, relentless rallying and 11 voting sessions hence, the International Court of Justice (ICJ/World Court/Court) was finally made complete. Contrary to previous occasions characterizing the Court’s history, ‘completeness’ this time around meant something hitherto inconceivable. With the UK’s withdrawal of Justice Greenwood from the Court’s candidacy after repeatedly being trumped over by India’s Justice Bhandari, the ICJ will function without a judge drawn from a permanent member of the …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

Die Trump-Administration, der Kongress und das Dilemma des JCPOA

Nach knapp 12 Jahren stockend verlaufender Verhandlungen, verbunden mit massivem wirtschaftlichen Druck auf Iran, konnten sich am 14.07.2015 die Außenminister der EU-3+3 – Bezeichnung für Staaten (P5+Deutschland), die sich den diplomatischen Bemühungen mit Iran anschlossen – und Iran in Wien auf den gemeinsamen umfassenden Aktionsplan, den JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), einigen. Dieser Meilenstein, insbesondere in den amerikanisch-iranischen Beziehungen, wurde durch die Wahl des moderaten Kandidaten Hassan Rouhani in …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

Last but not least: Lebenslang für den “Schlächter des Balkans”

Das Urteil des Jugoslawienstrafgerichtshofes vom 22. November 2017 gegen Ratko Mladić

    Bei der Verfolgung massiver Gewaltverbrechen spielen die Verfahren gegen die Entscheidungsträger*innen eine besondere Rolle. Die bloße Verfolgung „kleiner Rädchen im Getriebe“ verspricht nicht den gleichen Effekt auf die nach Gerechtigkeit strebenden Betroffenen. Bei der strafrechtlichen Aufarbeitung des Bosnienkrieges blieb dem politischen Oberhaupt der bosnischen Serb*innen, Radovan Karadžić, eine lebenslange Freiheitsstrafe allerdings erspart. Entsprechend wurde der Urteilsverkündung gegen den militärischen Kopf der bosnischen Serb*innen, Ratko Mladić, von bosniakischer Seite …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

Can we detect paradigmatic shifts when we see them?

Observations from an interdisciplinary workshop on norm and value changes

There certainly is no shortage of supposedly common wisdoms in academia on the futility of interdisciplinary work, not all of them as witty as MacIntyres’ observation that it “seems impossible to be truly bi-lingual in scientific terminology and methodology”. At the same time, there are questions that no single discipline can answer. The Workshop “Decline or Transformation? Norm change and values in international law” convened by Andrea Liese (international relations) …

READ MORE →

DiscussionResponse

Quo Vadis PMSC?

The way forward in dealing with Private Military and Security Companies: A response to Prof. Sossai’s assessment of the legal side effects of privatized war

In his recent post, Mirko Sossai succinctly summarized three phases of research on Private Military and Security Companies (PMSC). He also named the challenges on the way forward, particularly the need to avoid competing regulatory initiatives and finding an end to impunity of PMSC. This blog post will continue the discussion and focus on five key challenges for legal scholarship focused on PMSC. 1) Misunderstandings of Legal Terminology As Sossai …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

Verstoß von Deutschland gegen EMRK wegen mangelnder Untersuchung von Polizeigewalt

Die Entscheidung des EGMR vom 9. November 2017 in der Sache Hentschel and Stark v. Germany, 47274/15

Der EGMR hat in einem für Deutschland sehr wichtigen Verfahren eine Verletzung von Art. 3 der Konvention festgestellt. Das ist bisher noch nicht häufig geschehen. Art. 3 schützt gegen unmenschliche Behandlung. Der EGMR hat in dem Urteil festgestellt, dass keine ausreichende Untersuchung eines nach den Umständen nicht offenbar unbegründeten Vorwurfs einer Anwendung von unverhältnismäßiger Polizeigewalt erfolgt war. Der Fall betraf den Polizeieinsatz vom 9. Dezember 2007 im Zusammenhang mit einem …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

La situation en Catalogne

Chronique d’une tentative de sécession avortée

La déclaration d’indépendance de la Catalogne constitue à n’en pas douter l’expression la plus forte de la crise institutionnelle qu’a connu la Catalogne ces dernières années. Si la question du statut de la Catalogne avait notamment conduit par le passé à l’annulation de l’organisation d’un référendum le 9 novembre 2014 par la Tribunal constitutionnel espagnol, les récents développements appellent une analyse approfondie tant sous l’angle du droit constitutionnel espagnol que …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

Wind Of Change in New York?

Die diesjährigen Richterwahlen zum IGH und die Implikationen für das Machtgefüge der Vereinten Nationen

Am Ende ging es ganz schnell. Nach einem tagelangen Machtpoker um den verbleibenden freien Platz am IGH zog Großbritannien seinen Kandidaten, den amtierenden Richter Sir Christopher Greenwood, zurück. Der Weg war frei für die Wahl des indischen Kandidaten Dalveer Bhandari, ebenfalls amtierender Richter in Den Haag. Zuvor wurden bereits vier der fünf im Jahr 2018 frei werdenen Richterstellen am IGH besetzt. Wiedergewählt wurden der amtierende Gerichtspräsident Ronny Abraham (Frankreich), Vizepräsident …

READ MORE →

DiscussionResponse

Who may see the Acropolis? Global patterns of inequality and the right to tourism

In her contribution on the newly created right to tourism, Sabrina Tremblay-Huet convincingly states, that the social and economic phenomenon of tourism has been widely disregarded by the social sciences, law and philosophy due to the focus of the academia on migration. However, there are many reasons to highlight the growing relevance of tourism in world society: First, the tourist sector generates by now 10 percent of the world’s GDP. …

READ MORE →

Call for ContributionsCritical Race Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Call for Contributions: Critical Race Perspectives on International Law

Call for contributions to the upcoming online-symposium

“Race is the child of racism, not the father,” writes Ta-Nehisi Coates in “Between the World and Me”. Such understanding of race not as an empirical category but as a category for analyzing power relations and structural discrimination underlies the symposium “Critical Race Perspectives on International Law“ that Völkerrechtsblog will host in February 2018. We invite contributions that address questions of race in various areas of international law, those taking comparative …

READ MORE →

DiscussionKick-off

A right to tourism – and the duty of hosting the leisure class

Some thoughts on the recent Convention on Tourism Ethics

The movement of bodies across borders attracts significant media and academic interest. This interest is often directed at specific forms of movement, such as refugees and economic migration. Another form of movement of bodies is having an important environmental, cultural, social and economic impact, albeit more quietly in the human rights realm: that of tourism, most especially mass tourism. Leisure tourism is not widely recognized as a serious area of …

READ MORE →

Call for ContributionsRussian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Call for Contributions: Russian Perspectives on International Law

Call for contributions to the online-symposium

The Völkerrechtsblog is happy to announce an online symposium on “International Law Seen from Russia”. This symposium is meant to offer insights from scholars working on international law issues related to Russia, to shed light on specific questions from the Russian context, and on Russian perspectives on international law. Russia is among the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, occupying a central place in UN law-making and …

READ MORE →

DiscussionResponse

Rethinking containment through the EU-Libya Migration Deal

In response to Nils Muiznieks, Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe who asked Italy to clarify its relationships with Libyan militia, the Italian Prime Minister Marco Minniti declared on October 11 that Italy’s goal is twofold: “to prevent migrant crossing which put life at risk […] and to grant that international standards are respected in Libya”. Minniti’s speech should be analysed in the light of the recent overt …

READ MORE →

Global South in Comparative Constitutional LawSymposium

Auctoritas non veritas facit Legem

A Response to Professor Roberto Niembro’s Conceptualisation of Authoritarian Constitutionalism

This blog post is a response to Roberto Niembro’s post on authoritarian constitutionalism for the Global South in Comparative Constitutional Law. This post will be cross-posted on the Blog of the International Association of Constitutional Law as part of a collaboration between Voelkerrechtsblog and the IACL blog .  At the beginning of the new century there are more constitutional democracies than ever, and authoritarian regimes seems to be weaker, isolated and more …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

The identification of individuals

Some thoughts on the ECHR judgment in the case N.D. and N.T.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in its judgment in the case and N.T. v. Spain found that push-backs to Morocco in the border zone of the Spanish enclave Melilla violated the prohibition of collective expulsion. The decision is important as it concerns the delimitation between legitimate border protection and practices that violate the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) – and thereby the key question in all regulation …

READ MORE →

DiscussionKick-off

Brother, where art thou?

Libya, spaces of violence and the diffusion of knowledge

The key political question in recent months has been how to reduce the number of unauthorized migrants that arrive to Europe’s shores in rickety vessels from politically unstable countries in North Africa. The overwhelming majority of the more than 134.000 migrants that arrived by sea to Europe this year landed on Italian shores (approximately 103.300). Most of the migrants landing in Italy departed from wartorn Libya. Italy seems to have …

READ MORE →

Discussion

Combatting the legal side effects of privatized war

What has been achieved, and what still needs to be done in international legal scholarship on Private Military and Security Companies

This contribution continues our journal cooperation with the journal “Swiss Review of International & European Law“. Over the past twenty years a lively debate on the regulation of private military and security companies (PMSCs) in situations of armed conflict has developed. The time has come for an appraisal of the rich literature on the phenomenon. This post which is written in the context of the journal cooperation with the Swiss …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

Returns Without Examinations

Greece’s Recent Judgment on Syrians’ Asylum Claims

On September 22, 2017, Greece’s highest administrative court – the Council of State – proclaimed that two Syrian asylum seekers can be deported to Turkey as a so-called safe third country. A court official explained the reasons for the judgment stating that “the court rejected the Syrians’ claims that their life and freedom would be in danger if they were returned to Turkey, as the judges opined this did not …

READ MORE →

Current DevelopmentsDiscussionResponse

The Referendum on Catalan Self-Determination: Long Shots and Legal Flair

The image conjured by the first subtitle of Zoran Oklopcic’s post on the referendum on Catalan self-determination, that of a zombie self-determination resurrected from its post-Kosovan resting place and back to haunt international legal rhetoric perfectly captures the mood amongst many in the international community who had perhaps been hoping that the rhetoric of self-determination had all but given up the ghost. As Oklopcic underlines, the past 15 years have …

READ MORE →

Current DevelopmentsDiscussionKick-off

The Referendum on Catalan Self-Determination (Part II)

Endemic Rhetoric, Interpretive Hypocrisy and Legal Imagination

Constitutionalizing Secession in Canada and Britain: Setting a(n) (bad) example? What encouraged the Catalans to place their bets on the persuasive power of remedial self-determination were two constitutional, not international legal texts: the Supreme Court of Canada’s 1998 Reference re Secession of Quebec, and the 2013 Edinburgh Agreement between the British and the Scottish governments on the referendum of the independence of Scotland. Though neither offered support to the Catalan …

READ MORE →

Current DevelopmentsDiscussionKick-off

The Referendum on Catalan Self-Determination (Part I)

Endemic Rhetoric, Interpretive Hypocrisy and Legal Imagination

Dawn of the Living Dead? Self-Determination in (Southern) Europe, 1991 – 2017 Scheduled to take place on 1 October 2017, the referendum on the independence of Catalonia looks to be a turning point in the history of the Iberian peninsula; if not a point of no return, then at least the moment after which the relationship between Catalonia and Spain will never again be the same. Though it is hard …

READ MORE →

Global South in Comparative Constitutional LawSymposium

Access to Justice for Socio-Economic Rights: Lessons from the Indian Experience

This is a cross-post shared with  the blog of the International Association of Constitutional Law as part of a collaboration between Voelkerrechtsblog and the IACL Blog. Professor David Bilchitz in a recent blog considered obstacles concerning access to justice for litigating socio-economic rights in South Africa and potential solutions to overcome these obstacles. He argued that South Africa should (i) empower individuals to enable them to make claims and (ii) expand its current …

READ MORE →

Discussion

Is a bird in the hand always worth two in the bush?

An assessment of the EU’s New Approch Towards the Two-State Solution

This post inaugurates a new cooperation of Völkerrechtsblog with the “Leiden Journal of International Law“. Firmly established as one of the leading journals in the field, the Leiden Journal of International Law (LJIL) provides a venue for sharp and critical voices that speak on the theory and practice of international law. It aspires to introduce or amplify refreshing and innovative approaches to perennial as well as topical issues in the field. The Journal’s focus …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

Messing with the Mess We Are In

Notes from the Transregional Academy on ‘Redistribution and the Law in an Antagonistic World’ from 21-30 August 2017 in Berlin

German legal scholarship has a reputation for being quite orthodox. Amid doctrinal sophistication and positivist assumptions, however, lie hidden treasure islands of heterodoxy. One such island was the Transregional Academy on ‘Redistribution and the Law in an Antagonistic World’, organized by the Forum Transregionale Studien and a steering committee of legal academics based in the US, UK and Germany. The Academy explored different ways in which law shapes and regulates …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

Status: “It’s complicated”

On African leaders’ troubled relationship with international courts

Courts are to many African leaders what models are to soccer stars: they are arm candy, but they are not expected to develop a life of their own, or make anybody look bad in public. Thus, if international courts dare to touch upon issues that actually matter to African elites, they will either be killed off or neutered, or, if this is not possible, states will withdraw from their jurisdiction. …

READ MORE →

Global South in Comparative Constitutional LawSymposium

Constitutional authoritarianism, not authoritarian constitutionalism!

A Constitutionalist View

In these times of re-emerging illiberalism, populism and authoritarianism, there is an increasing need for us to attempt to find new academic concepts to describe the phenomena that are emerging. These efforts can also help to redefine existing forms of constitutional developments. One increasingly common term used is authoritarian constitutionalism, which seems to fit into the debates of the last decades like global constitutionalism or international constitutionalism, and appears to …

READ MORE →

InterviewPractitioner's Corner

David gegen Goliath

Ein Interview mit Survival International zu den Rechten indigener Völker

Wenn man über indigene Völker in den Medien liest, dann liest man in der Regel leider selten Gutes: Land Grabbing, Vertreibung oder, wie in Australien, der Kampf der Aborigines um die Anerkennung als erste Bewohner des Landes in Form eines Vertrages. Survival International ist eine internationale Nichtregierungsorganisation, die sich für die Rechte indigener Völker einsetzt. Wir sprachen mit Linda Poppe von Survival International über aktuelle Herausforderungen, Möglichkeiten und Grenzen des Rechts …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

The C-Star’s Odyssey and the International Law of the Sea

In Homer’s epic poem, “The Odyssey”, the Greek hero Odysseus, having left his home Ithaca to help bring Helena back from Troy, faced manifold hardships on his return across the Mediterranean Sea. In July 2017, European citizens set sail in a self-prescribed mission not to bring someone home, but to prevent others from calling Europe home. The loosely affiliated Generation Identity, consisting mostly of activists from Austria, France, Germany and …

READ MORE →

Forum

On book reviews: Why, when and how to write them

Book reviews are perhaps a difficult format for academic writing. After all, what we all like to do best is talk about ourselves and our own ideas and why we are right. Writing a book review, however, puts someone else’s work in prime position; readers learn first about the reviewed work and only secondly something about the writer of the review herself. Perhaps this is why so few scholars, in …

READ MORE →

Global South in Comparative Constitutional LawSymposium

Interrogating “Constitutionalism of the South” and New Pathways for Research: The Case for a Central America in the Global Debate

Latin American constitutional scholarship is on the rise in the Anglophone world. New collaborative works (such as Dixon and Ginsburg’s new comparative constitutional law edition (2017), the Borges et al ‘Law and Policy’ edition (2017), and Couso et al ‘Cultures of Legality’ (2010), as well as individual monographs (like Gargarella (2013) and Mirow (2015)), provide a quality introduction to the region in English. Latin Americanism in Latin American Comparative Studies …

READ MORE →

Current Developments

Zwischen Skylla und Charybdis

Die Kollision von völkerrechtlichen Intra-EU-BITs mit dem Unionsrecht

Die Straßen rund um das Plateau Kirchberg im Osten Luxemburgs, quasi der Herzkammer der europäischen Rechtswissenschaft, sind schon seit mehreren Jahren eine Dauerbaustelle. Am Montag, den 19. Juni 2017, war vielen im Luxemburger Europaquartier jedoch klar, dass die vielleicht größten Baustellen hinter den Türen des Boulevard Konrad Adenauer liegen. Die Vereinbarkeit des Unionsrechts mit den Schiedsgerichtsverfahren ist nicht erst seit den Diskussionen um die Freihandelsabkommen CETA und TTIP ein Dauerbrenner …

READ MORE →

Global South in Comparative Constitutional LawSymposium

Knowledge Production in Comparative Constitutional Law

Alterity – Contingency – Hybridity

The idea and the reality of the Global South represent different types of epistemological challenges to the disciplinary identity of comparative (constitutional) law. As a term, it is no more than two decades old, though its pedigree reaches back to the 1950s and the idea of a ‘third world’ which brought together Cold War developmental taxonomy with the earlier concept of a formerly excluded ‘third estate’ (tiers etat) staking a …